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Io

copy after Allegri Antonio called Correggio

(Correggio c. 1489 - 1534)

Entering the Borghese Collection together with the partial copy of the Berlin Leda (inv. no. 122), this painting is similarly a much-reduced version of the work held at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The original Jupiter and Io formed part of the series of Jupiter’s loves executed by Correggio for Federico II Gonzaga, who donated them to Emperor Charles V on the occasion of his coronation in Bologna in 1530.

As is evident, the anonymous copyist introduced several variations with respect to the original, setting the amorous encounter between Io and Jupiter in a landscape. According to the myth, the god changed himself into a cloud to take the girl.

 


Object details

Inventory
128
Location
Date
17th century
Classification
Period
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
cm 76 x 49
Frame

Salvator Rosa, 77 x 61 x 5.5 cm

Provenance

(?) Paris, collection of Pierre Crozat, 1741 (Mariette 1741, p. 32, no. 102; M. Stuffman 1965 in Borghese Archive 407, VII/I); Rome, collection of Camillo Borghese, 1812 (Inv. 1812, p. 110); Rome, Borghese Collection, 1833 (Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese 1833, p. 25). Purchased by Italian state, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1952 Augusto Cecconi Principi
  • 2008 Paola Mastropasqua

Commentary

The provenance of this small canvas is unknown. In spite of attempts to identify this work and the Leda with two similar compositions documented in Pierre Crozat’s collection (this was the idea put forth by Margret Stuffmann in a letter sent to the Galleria in 1965), critics have always preferred to ignore this fascinating and highly likely hypothesis, perhaps feeling that the popularity of the originals led to the production of numerous replicas and variations over the centuries, which are held today in the most important museums of the world (see Quintavalle 1970).

If, on the other hand, we reject this theory, we must conclude that the work entered the collection of the Casino di Porta Pinciana between the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as the canvas is not mentioned in 17th- and 18-century Borghese inventories. Only in 1812 was the work first cited among the family belongings. On this occasion, it was described together with the Leda in the so-called ‘Room of the Venuses’, which had been arranged in one the spaces of the Palazzo di Campo Marzio.

In the opinion of some critics (Della Pergola 1955; Herrmann Fiore 2006), it is highly probably that the painting was executed by an unknown copyist in the 17th century and purchased by Camillo Borghese together with the Leda to perhaps ideally reconstruct the series of Jupiter’s loves. Contributing to the fulfilment of this ambition was his acquisition of Correggio’s splendid Danaë (inv. no. 125) in 1827, which once formed part of the collections of Charles V and of those of Rudolf II in Prague from 1598.

Antonio Iommelli




Bibliography
  • J. P. Mariette, Catalogue des tableaux et bronzes de M. Crozat, Paris 1741 [ed. 1973], p. 32, n. 102;
  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 84;
  • A. Venturi, II Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 96;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 189;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955p. 26, n. 27;
  • R. Longhi, Saggi e ricerche 1925-28. Precisioni nelle gallerie italiane. La Galleria Borghese, Firenze 1967, p. 339;
  • E. Verheyen, Correggiův cyklus Amori di Giove, Umění 1968, p. 429-441, pp. 429-443;
  • K. M. Swoboda, Die Io und der Ganymed des Correggio in der Wiener Gemäldegalerie, in K.M. Swoboda, Kunst und Geschichte: Vorträge und Aufsätze, pp. 165-179, Wien 1969, p. 30;
  • A. C. Quintavalle, L’Opera Completa del Correggio, Milano 1970, p. 109;
  • E. R. Knauer, Zu Correggios Io und Ganymed, in “Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte”, XXXIII, 1970, pp. 61-67;
  • S. Staccioli, L'avventurosa storia delle Danae, in La Danae e la pioggia d'oro. Un capolavoro di Antonio Allegri detto il Correggio restaurato, Roma 1991, pp. 13-14;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 44;
  • M. Minozzi, in Correggio e l’antico, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Galleria Borghese, 2008), a cura di A. Coliva, Milano 2008, pp. 62-63.